This is a long overdue move - I've finally migrated my blog to http://sharonsaw.com so please follow my journey there!
This is a long overdue move - I've finally migrated my blog to http://sharonsaw.com so please follow my journey there!
My friend Susan asked me if I was going trekking. I said what trekking? She said, "Aren't you in the whats app group?" I said no. She checked, and I wasn't, so she asked our friend Pyng to add me in. In the end Susan couldn't make it but I did want to start some exercise, especially after my detox programme. I really needed to keep the weight from avalanching back on, which it was already nicely doing.
So this morning, at 7.20am, Pyng picked me up and we headed to Hartamas. There were five of us - Pyng, Anusha - Pyng's neighbour, Dave - Pyng's badminton pal, Serina (and her four-legged friend, Sophie) and I. I must say it was a lovely walk through the forest. The temperature was cool and most of the walk was shaded by the forest canopy.
Small streams would suddenly appear out of nowhere and although there was a trail, it was covered in leaves and we had to watch our step as we picked our way over protruding roots, rocks and fallen saplings. It had been quite dry so the ground wasn't slippery and some areas the ground was quite nice and springy.
Our trusty group sans Pyng who was taking the photo.
Pyng taking a group selfie.. but we only get to see her eye...
Serina and Sophie
The lovely panoramic view of KL from the top of the hill we just climbed.
At the top of the hill.. and we headed into the bush behind where I was standing.
I'm squinting because of the sunlight!
Yes I made it!
Happy to be heading back to the car!
This was the route we did... which was around 9Km! Not bad for someone who barely walks and does zero exercise. The most I walk is shopping at the mall. So for a first-timer, it was tough. But it was really an amazing experience - I never knew we had such a gem right in my backyard. So I will be back - and bringing my equally unfit son too - little does he know. Heh.
A big thanks to Pyng and my trekking mates for babysitting this first-timer!
I woke up at 5.30am and headed off to the centre. It was still dark but traffic was clear at that hour. Vasantha put two cups in front of me. One had really evil looking liquid in it.
"Drink this." She said, "Then drink water. Then go out and walk."
"Walk?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "Go walk until pass motion."
She also placed a red flask on the table. "After pass motion, drink some water. If want to vomit, don't drink water."
Okay, I said.
I looked at the vile looking liquid and sighed. I guess the only way was to just drink it. It tasted bitter like chinese medication but not too disgusting. I managed to drink most of it and flushed it down with the water.
Then I went outside to walk around the small carpark. After walking for awhile, I felt no urge to go to the loo. Maybe I needed more water. So I came in and sat down and sipped some water. Vasantha came and asked, "Pass motion?" I replied, no. She said, "then go walk."
I went out to walk around again. After about 15 minutes of walking around the carpark - and idly checking facebook on my phone because I was that bored - I went back in. Tried sitting on the loo. Nothing happened. Came out again, sat down in the waiting area and drank some more water. Then went out for a walk. This ritual was repeated several times. The sun was beginning to rise and it was getting light outside. By 7am, I still didn't feel like going to the loo. I didn't want to press the issue in case Vasantha came over with more evil looking liquid to drink.
So I walked. I even walked down the road to a row of shops - closed nevertheless at that hour - but just for the sake of walking further than round the tiny carpark, which I could cross in a minute. Finally, by around 7.30am, things finally began to move and yes I went to the loo.
Basically to spare you the gory details, I went to the loo around three times. Vasantha said i should aim for around six times. Nothing was happening. So around 9.30am, I went to see the doctor. The doctor weighed me - I was 60Kg, so I lost 4Kg - Eureka! He asked me how many times I had purged, and I said three times. He asked what I had for dinner last night, I said I had zucchini, broccoli, sweetcorn and mashed potatoes. He asked, "No chapati? No rice?" I said no. He said, "No wonder nothing is coming out, you have an empty stomach." I thought, oh really. All that mashed potato was nothing?
The doctor then said that normally after purging, I would be given some porridge and some buttermilk. The butter milk would stop the purging. He told me to take the porridge first, wait one hour and then take the butter milk. He also wrote a prescription for me which would improve my metabolic rate and maintain the weight loss. I had mixed feelings about it because I was worried it would taste awful. I had to consume some herbal drink before and some pills after each meal. It probably tastes so bad I have no appetite.
And he gave me a diet plan.
The Diet Plan
Breakfast: Oats or wholemeal toast or barley (screw the barley.. i don't even know how you eat barley)
Lunch: Rice with some vegetables or fish.
Tea: A cup of tea with milk or lemonade (a glass of water, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a pinch of salt).
Dinner: Oats or wholemeal toast or barley and a piece of fruit
And T H A T was it.
Gawd. If I ate according to that diet plan, of course I'd maintain my weight loss!!! And that wasn't all.
He also gave me a list of food to avoid (this is a general list and applies to everyone).
|Milk products:||Yoghurt, cheese & butter.||Milk and Buttermilk*|
Sweet potatoes, aubergines, bitter gourd, yellow pumpkin, tapioca, tofu, soy products and mushrooms.
(Reduce: Cabbage and long beans).
|Drumstick, Drumstick leaves, spinach, bottle gourd, snake gourd, winter melon, ladies finger, carrots, beetroot, green gram, lemon, tomato, green peas, potatoes, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, onion, baby corn.|
|Spices:||Red and green chillies, tamarind.||black pepper, cardamom, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, curry leaves, clove and tumeric powder, mustard, asafeotida, mint leaves, fenugreek leaves and seeds, coriander leaves and seeds.|
|Fruits:||Pineapple, orange, mango, durian, banana.||Grapes, watermelon, papaya, pomegranate, green apple, guava, pear and avocado.|
|Nuts:||Cashew nuts, ground nuts/peanuts.||Almonds, walnuts, raisins and prunes.|
||Palm sugar (gula melaka), biscuits made from oats. Freshly cooked food within four hours.|
|Non-veg:||Eggs, Prawns, shellfish, crabs, chicken, white meat and red meat.||Mutton and fish (in small quantity)|
|Oils:||flavoured oil, perfumed oil, reheated oil||Coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil and olive oil|
*Butter milk recipe: 1 cup of yoghurt, 6 cups of water (blend for 5-10 minutes), add some curry leaves, mint leaves, ginger for flavour and a little salt.
Sleep early before 10.30pm and wake up early before 6am. Do not take meals until hunger manifests and prefer light meals. Do not exert physically or mentally. Do mild exercise everyday.
Well, needless to say, I will not be sticking to this. I will use it as a guideline of course but not to follow rigidly. I mean - no chocolate or ice-cream???
Anyway, I had my butter milk and Vasantha gave me porridge again.
The butter milk actually tastes better than it looks. After a week of not tasting anything with spices, it was pleasant to taste the curry leaves. I ate half the porridge and poured in the butter milk, which made the porridge more palatable.
Then I collected my medicines and left.
Came home and visited the loo a few times. Obviously the properties of the butter milk which were supposed to stop the purging hadn't kicked in yet.
I was quite exhausted from the whole morning's activites so I took a nap. Woke up, purged some more. I didn't mind, though it seemed to make no difference to my weight. Oh well.
Anyway, so today is the end of the detox. It was an experience that I don't think I'd like to repeat, personally, though I do know people who do this twice a year to clean out the old system. I would recommend that people try it, because everyone has a different reaction to the treatment. Li Kim came to the centre this morning to start her first day of detox and she drank down the ghee like it was nothing!
Well, if anyone would like to try it, at least you have an insight into it now - so go for it!
I had a lovely breakfast this morning. A bowl of oats with strawberries and blueberries. Yum. I had to eat something before I went to the Ayur Centre because today I was "steamed"! Vasantha, the therapist, said that if I didn't eat anything before the treatment, I might feel dizzy. So after breakfast, off I went to the Ayur Centre and was oiled as usual. No nose drops though. Yay. Then Vasantha carried a steaming pot of muddy looking liquid from the stove in the room and went to the bathroom, where there was a low plastic tub, which was quarter full of water.
She poured in the steaming liquid and then said "get in." I gingerly stuck a foot in and withdrew it quickly saying it was too hot. I can't tolerate hot baths which are too hot though some friends seem to be able to happily soak in them. Which probably means I will never get into an onsen but anyway, I digress. Kind Vasantha poured in some cold water and finally I could get in. The width of the tub was just enough for me to sit in it with my knees up. How long do I sit here, I asked? She said, "Until you sweat."
I don't really sweat much so I thought it could be a long time. She then left me sitting in a plastic tub in the middle of a tiny bathroom.
This was the bathroom which had the tub in it, which she removed
after the steaming. You can see how small it is so imagine the size of the tub I sat in!
The water was a comfortable but hot temperature, but since it wasn't the scalding temperature I felt earlier, it cooled quite quickly. In the meantime I just sat there wondering when she was coming back. And whether it was the heat from the water which would make me sweat or whether it was the herbal liquid she poured in.
Unused to not doing anything except literally sitting, I tried to keep my monkey mind under control but failed miserably. Usually in a bath, I would read or watch TV or something. Usually in a bath, I would be lying down and the water would not be a muddy brown. Usually. Luckily it didn't smell. To pass the time, I looked at the water and idly wondered what all the bits floating in it were. And whether that blob floating by was an insect. Hmmm.
Anyway Vasantha did come back, peered at me and said, "sweating?". I replied that I didn't know. I certainly didn't feel like it. But maybe I was. She tipped my face up and said ,"OK, sweat. Can get up."
Then I scrubbed myself off with the now-familiar yellow paste and I was done for the day!
Today, my weight is 133.5lb. Another drop of 1.5lb from yesterday and 9lb in total - in 6 days. Not too bad. Though since I am eating three meals today, my weight may change. For lunch, I had strawberries and blueberries (I do like my berries) and then fried zucchini with garlic, which was delicious.
Tomorrow is purging day, which sounds utterly revolting. But at least it's the end of the 7-day detox!
Thank God - it's the final day of fasting! Final day of nose drops! And best of all, it's the final day of ghee! The oiling was pleasant enough and I wouldn't mind doing the oiling again - sans nose drops. I can eat vegetarian food the next day which is exciting. I asked the therapist what exactly could I eat. She said - chapati, tosai, oats for breakfast, then rice and vegetables for lunch and I could have chapati again for dinner. I asked her, could I have dhal? She said yes. Woohoo! Could I have fruit? Yes.. but no bananas, no oranges, no pineapples. And no durian - it's too heaty, she said. I am so looking forward to tomorrow. But before that, I had to get through a cup of ghee and another bowl of porridge at 4pm.
As expected, the cup of ghee was more than yesterday.
I optimistically tried to take more than one mouthful at a time in order to expedite it, but just started retching, so I went back to taking it slow. Eventually, I finished it and boy, was I glad to see the last of it.
Weight-wise, I weighed in at 135lb today. A loss of 1lb from yesterday. Not as much as previous days. Maybe it was breathing in all the delicious smells at the Japanese restaurant yesterday night. Still, it's a loss of 7.5lb from the first day, and I am quite happy to maintain this weight.
Tomorrow, I need to have breakfast first, then I go to the centre for an oil massage and a steam! That should be interesting.
Today my appointment was earlier - at 8.30am. I was in the treatment room upstairs for a change.
The pot at the end of the bed is where the oil is heated before it's slathered on me.
The ghee increased again! I almost cried looking at it. It was two-thirds full, which made me dread to think if tomorrow meant a full cup.
I weighed in at 136lb. It's my fourth and penultimate day of the five-day fast, a loss of 2lb from yesterday and 6.5lb overall. I'll be happy to lose another pound or so and maintain it. Though maintaining will be tough since I have no discipline, but we shall see. I do plan to start exercising and that should make a difference since I did zilch previously.
Last night was awful. There were cocktails at sunset and a sumptuous buffet for dinner and all I could have was hot water. I felt like those hungry ghosts who could only float around, starving and drooling over food but unable to eat it. Sympathies to them - at least mine is just for five days.
So, today is my third day. I weigh 138lb which means I lost a grand total of 1.5lb. Total loss so far is 4.5lb. Not bad. As a reward, I get to drink half a cup of that revolting stuff instead of a third of a cup. And I found out that it was ghee. Ghee is a class of clarified butter (I love butter but this tastes nothing like butter!) and according to its definition in Wikipedia:
Ayurveda considers ghee to be sāttvik or sattva-guṇi (in the "mode of goodness"), when used as food. It is the main ingredient in some of the Ayurvedic medicines, and is included under catuh mahā sneha (the four main oils: ghṛta, taila, vasā, and majjā) along with sesame oil, muscle fat, and bone marrow. Ghee is used preferentially for the diseases caused by Pitta Dosha. Many Ayurvedic formulations contain ghee, for example, Brāhmi ghṛta, Indukānta ghṛta, Phala ghṛta, etc. Though eight types of ghee are mentioned in Ayurvedic classics, ghee made of human breast milk and cow's ghee are claimed to be excellent among them. Further, cow's ghee has medhya (intellect promoting) and rasāyana (vitalizing) properties. Ghee is also used in Ayurvedas for constipation and ulcers.
Today, the ghee went down a bit easier. I don't know why. Maybe because I knew what it was, or maybe because I held my breath when drinking it. Anyway, it took me 15 minutes to down it as opposed to 20. Maybe I will take 10 mins tomorrow.
I am hungrier today than the previous two days, and keep seeing mirages of delicious dishes floating in front of my eyes.
To top it all, I have just received a phone call from my dear friend Abhi, who has just arrived this morning from Paris with my favourite chocolates!!! And I have to wait until Wednesday to eat them!!! Thank you Abhi!
I had to put a picture of the chocolates in... they are DIVINE.
Two and a half more days of this. Followed by another two days of detox. Why did I decide to do this, I ask myself.
4pm, porridge time...
I've been waiting to eat since 1pm and it is still as tasteless as the day before. Makes me wonder why. I must not be that hungry, otherwise I should be devouring it with relish. As it is, I am struggling to eat every mouthful. Yes I know I am spoilt and for someone who loves to eat strong tasting food, this is close to torture.
Remind me never to do this again. I must be a masochist.
5.18pm: the porridge went straight through me and I ended up on the loo.
This morning I woke up feeling fine. I wasn't hungry, which was a relief - though it may have been due to the fact that I don't often have breakfast. I weighed myself. 139.5lb! Eureka! One day fast and I lost 3lbs. Goes to show how much I normally eat. Sigh.
I went for my oiling and it was fine - i could get used to being massaged with hot oil every day. Except for the nasal oil.. that is still unpleasant but bearable. Then came the bane of my day - the oily concoction I had to consume.
I know it doesn't look like much - it's about a third of the foam cup - but it takes me about 20 minutes to drink it. I found a way of making it easier though - I hold my breath while I drink it and try to psycho myself that it is NOT disgusting. I still can't take big gulps but it's more palatable if I don't smell it. And I rinse it down with the hot ginger water (cup on the right). And I read the Star newspaper at the same time to distract myself from the taste. Okay, okay, I am a princess about medication. I am now getting concerned about the week after when the doctor said i had to consume some herbal medication. If it tastes like this, I may not be able to keep to it. Discipline is not in my vocabulary. Much.
Anyway, at 4pm, I had my bowl of porridge - it's still tasteless. I didn't take too much of it - I wonder if it's because I am not that hungry. I am sure if I was very hungry, I would devour anything I could, so I guess I am not, which I find interesting because I am not eating anything else.
Tonight I will be going out with a couple of friends for dinner so it will be challenging to watch them eat and I can only have hot water. What fun. I shall simply (try to) meditate on the weight I will lose at the end of this week.
Today I started the detox programme. This morning I weighed 142.5lbs. I had gained 10lbs since August last year so I'd be happy to shed them again.
My appointment was at 9am and I turned up a few minutes earlier as advised. The short, stout-looking Indian lady therapist led me to the treatment room. Her English is not strong so she instructs in as few words as possible, like "take your clothes off", "sit", "lie down", "turn over" but her smiles softened the directions. Economical but covers the essentials.
Anyway, I took off all my clothes obediently, then waited for further instructions. She looked at me, pointed at my breasts and said, "take those two off!" I was like, "what?" Then I realised that i had self-consciously put my hands in front of my breasts and I was wearing my watch on my left wrist and a bracelet on my right. And she meant for me to take those two items off. Phew.
She then put a thong on me and told me to sit on the edge of the treatment bed, which looked more like a mortuary slab than a massage bed.
She put some oil on my head, on my face, my chest and back. The oil on my chest and back smelled faintly of eucalytus and was probably for my weak lungs. Then she told me to lie down and oiled me all over with lovely hot oil. After awhile, she told me to turn over and oiled my back. It was a light but firm rub with long strokes and was very pleasant. Though the closest description I can think of is that it is like being basted. Then she asked me to turn over again and i felt like a slippery piece of meat. I guess that is why there is a raised edge on the bed so that people don't slide off. Then she put some nose drops up my nose which wasn't that pleasant.
After the oiling, which took about 30 minutes, she said I could take a shower. She gave me a steel bowl with a yellow powder in it and she made it into a paste and that was my soap. It actually worked quite well. I rinsed off from a tub of hot water (thank goodness I didn't have to have a cold bath!) and after awhile, though I didn't feel that the oil came off completely, I decided to continue bathing at home.
When I came back out to the reception, the therapist gave me a cup of a dark coloured substance which looked like honey. Yum I thought. She also gave me a cup of hot ginger water. So i tried the dark coloured liquid and it was like a thick oil. My natural reaction was to retch. I chased it down with the hot water which helped somewhat. When it got to the bottom of the cup, the oily substance was mixed with some powder which made me retch even more. I managed to finish most of it but couldn't quite get to the end.
I showered again when I got home but the oil is still there. I guess it could be like a natural moisturiser. I now also smell a bit like Bangalore. Guess I will not have any special social events for the next 7 days.
So now I fast until 4pm when I can have a bowl of plain porridge. That would be all I eat today and then I go back to be oiled tomorrow. I can also have ginger water - which is made with a piece of crushed ginger boiled in water.
4.41pm: I'm not that hungry though I was feeling peckish - more because of the habit of eating and the yearning for taste rather than actual hunger. Anyway, at 4pm, I have had a bowl of porridge. It was very bland and tasteless. I'd love to add garlic and spring onions and century egg and salted egg to it but plain porridge it is. It will be an interesting 5 days of this.
5.56pm: I'm now having a tummy ache and have been going to the toilet.
On Friday I went to visit an Ayurvedic doctor at the Ayur Centre in Petaling Jaya. I had been falling ill frequently over the past year with bronchial infections and since my friend Li Kim just went for a consultation on Thursday, I thought I would also get myself checked out.
The doctor was lovely and patient. He took my pulse, my weight, my heart rate and my blood pressure and told me what was wrong with me.
Essentially, I had three issues.
My blood pressure was low – at 90/72. What was of concern was that it could be due to structural deformity or weakness. In the end, the doctor thought it could be due to angina. The remedy would be to lose weight and to exercise by a brisk 20-30 minute walk every other day. And to avoid emotional upheavals. It was nothing alarming, he said. But it was important to be careful as it could lead to problems later, and that was good enough for me to agree to the programme.
He recommended a 7-day detox programme, followed by an internal herbal prescription and lots of exercise!
The Detox Programme
I had to stop taking any medication for the seven days. I had to go to the centre every day for oiling. I would be oiled for 40 minutes with specific oils for my chest and back. And there would be oils for my nose (?!). After the oiling, I would be given a herbal medication to take. Then I had to fast until 4pm, when I could have my one and only meal of the day – rice porridge with no salt or condiments. I had to also stop all medication and follow this regimen for five days. On the sixth day, I could take three meals a day – light vegetarian food. Then on the seventh day, I would have to go to the centre for 3-4 hours, when I would be purging. Lovely.
The good news was that the doctor said I would lose around 3 kg over the seven days. Well, if I am only eating one meal of rice porridge a day for five days, I am not surprised. But it’s all good. I’m willing to give it a go. Maybe because I have no idea what is in store. Anyway, I have to wait for the centre to call me back with a time when I can start this programme. Until then, I had better enjoy eating whatever I can!